Background: Conflicting data exists regarding the effect of hemispheric lateralization on acute ischemic stroke outcome. Some of this variability may be related to heterogeneous study populations, particularly with respect to the level of arterial occlusion. Furthermore, little is known about the relationship between stroke lateralization and predictors of outcome. The purpose of this study was to characterize the impact of stroke lateralization on both functional outcome and its predictors in a well-defined population of anterior circulation proximal artery occlusions treated with IAT.
Methods: Thirty-five consecutive left- and 35 consecutive right-sided stroke patients with intracranial ICA and/or MCA occlusions who underwent IAT were retrospectively analyzed. Ischemic change on pre-treatment imaging was quantified. Reperfusion success was graded using the Mori scale. Good outcome at three months was defined as an mRS <or= 2. Left- and right-sided strokes were compared for outcome and its predictors.
Result: Of 70 patients with median NIHSS score of 18 (IQR, 14-21), 19 (27.1%) had a good outcome. There were 21 terminal ICA and 49 MCA occlusions. There was no difference in the rate of good outcomes between left- (n = 9) and right-sided (n = 10) strokes (p = 0.99). There were no significant differences in occlusion level, age, ischemic change on initial imaging and degree of reperfusion between left- and right-sided strokes. Left-sided strokes had higher baseline NIHSS scores (p = 0.02) and lower admission SBP (p = 0.009). Independent predictors of outcome for left-sided strokes were NIHSS (p = 0.0002) and reperfusion (p = 0.006), and for right-sided strokes were age (p = 0.002) and reperfusion (p = 0.003). In univariate analysis, pre-treatment ischemic change on NCCT was associated with outcome only for left-sided strokes (p = 0.05).
Conclusions: In anterior circulation proximal artery occlusions treated with IAT, hemispheric lateralization influences the clinical and imaging predictors of outcome. Most notably, NIHSS predicts outcome only for the left-sided strokes in this population. This finding has important implications for outcome prediction in the acute setting and indicates a need for stroke severity scales more sensitive to right hemispheric deficits.